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Patriots are AFC East Favorites Despite Brady Suspension

The AFC East has been on lockdown for more than a decade with the Patriots winning all but one division crown in the last 13 seasons.

Is this the year the foundation on the house that Belichick built finally crumbles? Probably not. Although Brady will not appeal his four-game suspension the Patriots still have the most complete team in the division and are one of the best-coached teams in the NFL.

The preseason will be a good indicator for what we can expect from Jimmy Garoppolo as Brady’s replacement but even if the Patriots go 0-4 in the absence of their No. 1 gunslinger, they will still have a good shot to win the division. I don’t, however, expect them to go winless without No. 12 and I don’t expect anyone else to win this division.

Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills finished 8-8 last year but lost five of those games by eight points or less and will have a healthy Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy this season. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is an emerging star in the league and in his first full campaign as a starter he threw for 3035 yards with a 20:6 touchdown to interception ratio and added 568 yards and four touchdowns with his feet. Rex has eased off the playoff guarantees and has publicly said that he’s realistic about how the team will do this year. It is possible, though, he is being tempered by ownership.

New York finally has its quarterback situation figured out as they have come to terms with Ryan Fitzpatrick and can now focus on the season at hand. The Jets have +500 odds to take the division after a 10-6 season in which they narrowly missed the playoffs. They will welcome former Bears' running back Matt Forte to a backfield that rushed for 116.8 yards per game last year. The Jets could make the playoffs with a team that hasn’t gotten any worse but winning the division is a stretch for me – expect another 8-8, 9-7, 10-6 type of season.

The Dolphins trail the pack in the division odds after an extremely active offseason that saw them hire Adam Gase as their head coach and pick up several free agents including the oft-injured Kiko Alonso and Arian Foster. Miami is still a year or two away from competing with the best teams in the league and the +1000 odds do nothing to entice a bet from me.

2016-17 AFC East Champion Odds

Odds as of August 10 at BetOnline

  • New England Patriots -225
  • Buffalo Bills +500
  • New York Jets +500
  • Miami Dolphins +1000

Archived Articles

Until something drastic changes, the AFC East will go through New England. The Patriots have won the division 12 of the past 13 seasons with their lone unsuccessful campaign coming when Tom Brady missed the entire 2008 season.

The Pats are -200 favorites to win the AFC East once again, which is the second largest favorite to win a division behind the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. New England will be without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season after a federal court upheld his deflategate suspension, but that looks like the best time of year for the future hall of famer to miss. The Pats will be at home for three of those four games and two of them will be against teams that finished .500 or worse last year.

The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills both come in a +475. The Jets made some shrewd moves during the offseason – particularly nabbing Ryan Clady from the Broncos – but still have no quarterback. The Bills went hard after defense in the NFL draft and landed Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland who will likely be starting sooner rather than later.

Then there is the Miami Dolphins. The Fins managed to nab one of the hottest names in the coaching market by inking Adam Gase who will likely take one crack at the can to get Ryan Tannehill to be anything more than okay. If that doesn’t happen, expect a bad year and a first round quarterback next season.

2016-17 AFC East Champion Odds

Odds as of May 6 at BetOnline

  • New England Patriots -200
  • Buffalo Bills +475
  • New York Jets +475
  • Miami Dolphins +900

Archived Articles

Unless they suffer some type of historic collapse, it appears as though the New England Patriots have all but locked up the AFC East. After eight week, the Patriots are a perfect 7-0 with a three-game division lead. Given their recent history of complete dominance, their -20000 odds to win the division at Bovada are perfectly warranted. The Patriots play each of their division rivals once more this season.

In a distant second are the New York Jets (+2500), who are followed by the Buffalo Bills (+3300) and the Miami Dolphins (+3300). If either of these teams were able to pull off the shocking upset of winning the division, it would be the 4-3 Jets who have the easiest remaining schedule within the division.

Jets, Bills and Dolphins fans won't want to hear it, especially with nine weeks left to play, but it looks like the Patriots are well on their way towards winning their 13th division title in 15 years.

2015/16 AFC East Champion

Odds as of November 5 at Bovada

  • New England Patriots -20000
  • New York Jets +2500
  • Miami Dolphins +3300
  • Buffalo Bills +3300

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The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots might be playing the first quarter of the 2015 NFL regular season without starting quarterback Tom Brady, but that has not stopped oddsmakers from making them the -150 favorites to capture their 12th AFC East title in 13 years at Bovada.

Brady was suspended four games by the league for his role in the Deflategate scandal, and just one of them will be played against a divisional opponent – a road matchup with the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. The Patriots have won 12 games or more each of the past five years; Brady is still seeking an injunction on his punishment.

The Bills have a new head coach in Rex Ryan, who was fired by the New York Jets at the end of the last season. Ryan led New York to a dismal 4-12 record in 2014 and takes over a Buffalo team that finished with a respectable 9-7 mark but saw head coach Doug Marrone surprisingly opt out of his contract at the end of the year.

The Bills are at +500 (bet $100 to win $500) to win the division at Bovada, while the Jets are +1200 longshots with new head coach Todd Bowles coming over from the Arizona Cardinals, where he served as defensive coordinator.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are the +300 second choice to win the AFC East at Bovada and inked the biggest prize in free agency this offseason in All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who should bolster an already solid defense.

Miami also enjoyed a solid draft, adding wide receiver DeVante Parker from the Louisville Cardinals in the first round, which may help quarterback Ryan Tannehill finally take the next step in his career and live up to a recently signed six-year contract extension worth $96 million that keeps him there through 2020.

2015/16 AFC East Champion

Odds as of August 22 at Bovada

  • New England Patriots -150
  • Miami Dolphins +300
  • Buffalo Bills +500
  • New York Jets +1200
2015/16 AFC East Champion

Odds as of July 20 at Bovada

  • New England Patriots -150
  • Miami Dolphins +400
  • Buffalo Bills +425
  • New York Jets +750
2015/16 AFC East Champion

Odds as of May 5 at Bovada

  • New England Patriots -200
  • Buffalo Bills +500
  • Miami Dolphins +500
  • New York Jets +900

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2014 AFC East Odds Preview

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have owned the NFL's AFC East division for many seasons, and the oddsmakers at the sportsbooks have them set as the clear favorites once again on the odds to win the AFC East in the 2014 season.

Brady and company are set as the -500 favorites on the odds to win the AFC East at Bovada after they went 12-4 last season and won the division title by four games over both the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. New England also went 4-2 against divisional opponents in 2013.

New England Patriots Odds to Win AFC East -500
Miami Dolphins Odds to Win AFC East +750
New York Jets Odds to Win AFC East +900
Buffalo Bills Odds to Win AFC East +1400

The Jets and Dolphins, who posted identical 8-8 records last season and missed the playoffs, were both then at +650 on the AFC East betting lines at Bovada. New York went 3-3 against AFC East teams last season, while Miami went 2-4 against the other teams in the division. As of Sept. 4, they were +750 and +900 respectively.

Finally, the Buffalo Bills were the +900 longshots at Bovada on the odds to win the AFC East in 2014, but were +1400 to start the season, after they finished in the cellar of the division last season at 6-10. The Bills went 3-3 against the other three AFC East teams last season.

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2013 AFC East Odds Preview

No division in the NFL has had a reigning king for nearly as long as the AFC East has. The New England Patriots have won the AFC East title nine times in the last 10 seasons, an unprecedented run that shows no signs of coming to an end.

The Miami Dolphins appear to be on the rise, and are the only team that has won the AFC East other than New England over the last decade. Can Miami climb the mountain and end New England’s current four-year run at the top, or will it just be business as usual in the AFC East?

New England Patriots (Odds to Win Division at Bovada -400)

New England is dealing with a ton of turnover this offseason, losing its top three weapons in the passing game in Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, and Aaron Hernandez. For many teams, this would be a big red flag.

But Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have proven resilient in the past dealing with high turnover. The Patriots haven’t won less than 10 games since 2002, and have won at least 12 games in seven of the last 10 seasons including each of the last three. With one of the game’s elite quarterbacks running one of the league’s most innovative offenses, the supporting cast has proven to be interchangeable.

Miami Dolphins (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +325)

Miami went 7-9 SU last season in rookie Ryan Tannehill’s first year under center. The front office spent the offseason bolstering his offense with the addition of WR Mike Wallace and TE Dustin Keller, and also improved the defense drafting Dion Jordan and signing Danell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler.

After a busy free agency period, Miami has significantly improved its team on paper. The next step will be turning that potential into results on the field. If New England’s personnel turnover and offseason distractions finally cause the juggernaut team to falter, Miami has the best chance of taking advantage of it.

New York Jets (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +1600)

Back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game in 2009 and 2010 seem like a distant memory to the New York Jets at this point. The offense under Mark Sanchez reached new levels of futility last season, and not much was done to improve his supporting cast this offseason.

The Jets don’t appear to have the offense to compete in today’s NFL, even if the defense continues to play well. Cornerback Dee Milliner was drafted to replace Darrelle Revis, who has been a mainstay for this defense for years. Look for rookie Geno Smith to take over at quarterback at some point this season when the Jets fall in the standings.

Buffalo Bills (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +1600)

Buffalo cut ties with Ryan Fitzpatrick and drafted E.J. Manual to be the quarterback of the future for the Bills. The Bills also drafted a pair of wide receivers in Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. This rookie class, along with RB C.J. Spiller, should be able to put up some points this season.

Unfortunately for the Bills, the focus on improving the offense through the draft left the team’s pitiful defense unimproved. Buffalo may score a lot of points this year, but it will give up a lot of points too. Look for a trend towards the OVER if Manual is able to acclimate to the NFL.

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2012 AFC East Odds Preview

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2011 AFC East Odds Preview

Six of the NFL’s eight divisions had different winners in 2009 and 2010, with Indianapolis and New England as the only two teams to win their division both years. But not only did New England finish atop the AFC East both years, but the exact order of New England, New York, Miami, and Buffalo remained the same. Betting odds suggest that it will be the exact same order once again in 2011. Will the season play out as expected, or will someone buck the trend?

New England Patriots (Odds to Win Division at Bovada -165)

With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm, New England has won the AFC East eight times in the last 10 years, and is coming off of a season with the NFL’s best record (14-2). And the scariest part for opposing teams is that they may be even better in 2011.

Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis give the Patriots a big boost on defense, and Chad Ochocinco provides Brady with yet another weapon downfield. New York has been knocking on the door, but this team won’t be easy to catch.

New York Jets (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +185)

Boasting one of the best defenses in the NFL, the New York Jets have lost in the AFC conference final as a Wild Card team each of the last two years. This season they hope to take the next step in both the regular season and the playoffs.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez has a brand new wide receiving corps to work with as newcomers Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason join Santonio Holmes in what should be an outstanding unit. They’ve played New England well under Rex Ryan, and will try to finally dethrone them.

Miami Dolphins (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +900)

Miami’s defense finished in the top ten in the NFL in both rushing and passing defense, and should once again be a strong squad. The question marks come on offense, where Chad Henne needs to cut back on mistakes and Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas take over at running back.

The Dolphins are a good team, but they aren’t quite in the same tier as the Patriots and Jets. They’ll need a special season to break into the top two.

Buffalo Bills (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +2000)

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Fred Jackson and WR Steve Johnson make for a solid core on offense, and rookie defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has the makings to be a star on defense.

The Bills aren’t a hopeless team, but they are sorely outmatched in the AFC East. All they can hope for is to build on last season’s win total to keep moving in the right direction.

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